In this article, we will explore the differences between Reverse Engineering and Benchmarking.
What is Reverse Engineering?
In order to understand the differences, let's first take a step back and look into what Reverse Engineering is. In product development, Reverse Engineering is a process that analyzes an existing product for creating another one with similar properties in its design. It can be done manually or by using technology. More precisely, it means taking something apart in order to understand how it works and then being able to recreate it.
In product development, Reverse Engineering can be a useful approach when a company wants a product with similar properties at a lower price. However, it is also used by companies that want to copycat other products in terms of design or functionality. In the latter case, there is usually an intellectual property (IP) infringement involved.
When is Reverse Engineering used?
There are some factors that can play into companies choosing Reverse Engineering as their product development strategy:
The first and the main reason why a company would like to use this approach instead of others is that it's cost-effective and less laborious than other methods such as Benchmarking or Design for Manufacture (DFM). Another factor that plays into it is time. Reverse Engineering can save you time when developing a new product because it allows you to use the already existing design of another one.
Let's consider for instance an electronics company that would like to develop a smartphone with wireless charging, but have no clue on how to achieve it. They could choose Reverse Engineering for this product because they know that an already existing smartphone has wireless charging capabilities.
If there are no similar products in the market, a company would have to purchase special equipment and/or hire special people, which can be too costly or time-consuming. On the other hand, if there is already an existing product with those properties, it will be much easier and faster to copy its design than start from scratch.
What is Benchmarking?
Trying to create a product that is both innovative and competitive can be difficult. You want to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward, but you also don't want to reinvent the wheel.
How do you know if your product is truly innovative? More importantly, how do you know if it's better than what is already on the market?
Benchmarking is the answer.
By comparing your product against others in your industry, you can get a good idea of where it stands. Additionally, by understanding how other companies have succeeded (and failed), you can learn from their mistakes and apply those lessons to your own business.
What's the connection between reverse engineering and benchmarking?
Although Reverse Engineering and Benchmarking are two very different approaches to product development, they do share some similarities.
Both of them allow you to understand your industry better. By looking at best practices, you can spot trends and learn what works (and what doesn't work) for others in the field. Also, both methods help you make sure that your product is innovative and competitive.
However, Benchmarking has one additional perk: it allows you to understand how your product fits in the industry and what its value proposition is compared to other products on the market.
Reverse Engineering is a useful approach to product development, especially when there are no similar products available on the market. It can save you time and money. However, it does not allow you to understand what your product is worth in the market compared to others. Benchmarking on the other hand has the benefit of showing how your product compares to others in your industry.
In order to come up with a truly innovative and competitive product, companies should not rely on Reverse Engineering or Benchmarking only. Instead, they should use both methods to understand their industry better and make the best decision for their business.